How journalists are using Twitter and what it means for PR

How journalists are using Twitter and what it means for PR

Emma Brown

Emma Brown

Like most PR and communications professionals, I’m an avid Twitter user. And while there are many, many reasons I love the network (tweeting photographs of animals doing funny things; laughing at a politician’s latest slip-up - etc), news-sharing is definitely at the top of my list.

For PRs – a role where staying on top of current affairs is nothing less than essential – Twitter is invaluable. Often breaking news considerably sooner than many major news sites, and now boasting an estimated 200 million active users, it has well and truly disrupted the industry.

So where does this leave journalists?

Last week, Precise held a breakfast debate to discuss the ways Twitter is transforming journalists’ working lives.

Chaired by Helen Dunne of CorpComms magazine, the panel included Metro Editor Kenny Campbell, Senior Business Producer of Sky News Peter Hoskins, Senior Business Reporter at The Guardian Simon Goodley, and Feature Writer for the Daily Telegraph Harry Wallop.

Here are some of the key talking-points from the debate:

Twitter has, for some journalists, taken the place of a newswire service

More than ever before, speed is of the essence – Twitter helps journalists keep ahead of the newswires.

It’s just as much about getting stories out as it is getting news or information in. As the media landscape evolves, it’s important that journalists – as spokespeople for their publications – have an online profile.


However, Twitter is not the ‘be all and end all’

Simon Goodley of The Guardian doesn’t use Twitter, and doesn’t see why it could, or should, change his life.

What’s more, Twitter does not – and will not – eliminate the basics. Although it’s a useful tool for researching stories, the panel were unanimous in that pitching via DM is not welcomed!

And just because it's tweeted, doesn’t mean it is relevant, representative or even true!

So what does all this mean for PRs?

Personally, I found it reassuring to hear the panel agree that, while Twitter is a great tool for journalists and PRs alike, it by no means replaces ‘traditional’ methods of making contact and building relationships…

…so although the #journorequest search is staying firmly put in my Hootsuite, and I’ll still be keeping a close eye on what Harry, Kenny, Peter and their colleagues are talking about, I think this closing comment from Kenny sums it up very well:


You can follow me on Twitter here, and find me on Google+  here.

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  1. “many journalists have more twitter followers that their papers have readers” – I have never thought about it this way, but it’s very powerful!

  2. Very good piece, thanks!

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